David Chase Revisits The Sopranos Finale, Still Refuses to Spell Everything Out for Us

David ChaseSince 2007, fans of The Sopranos have debated the final scene of the HBO series’s final episode, “Made in America.” Some of us have come to terms with the show’s “five-year cut to black,” and have even figured out what creator David Chase was really trying to convey [SPOILER]: Like, Tony Soprano gets whacked by the guy in the Members Only jacket, right? Now that David Chase has reemerged to do press for his forthcoming film Not Fade Away, all he has to do is blink once for “yes” and twice for “no” and provide closure to his tortured viewers.

Oh, if things were only so simple. In an interview with the Associated Press, Chase once again backed off from offering a definitive ruling on Tony’s fate. He also reasserted his belief that the final scene is great, though he admitted to thinking that “Made in America” “might have been kind of a dud” before rewatching it two years and confirming that, yes, he is a brilliant guy.

At this point The Sopranos’ denouement has become the “You’re So Vain” of television finales. People only seem interested in finding the “answer” rather than enjoying the piece as a whole. But for Chase, the point of “Made in America” is its open-endedness, which, when you think about it, is exactly like life:

To me the question is not whether Tony lived or died, and that’s all that people wanted to know: “Well, did he live or did he die? You didn’t finish the show. You didn’t answer the question.” That’s preposterous. There was something else I was saying that was more important than whether Tony Soprano lived or died. About the fragility of all of it. The whole show had been about time in a way, and the time allotted on this Earth. That whole trip out to California was all about that — what people called a dream sequence. And all the dream sequences within the show. Tony was dealing in mortality every day. He was dishing out life and death. And he was not happy. He was getting everything he wanted, that guy, but he wasn’t happy. All I wanted to do was present the idea of how short life is and how precious it is. The only way I felt I could do that was to rip it away. And I think people did get it. It made them upset emotionally, but intellectually they didn’t follow it. And that could very well be bad execution.

For the record, we love “Made in America” and think David Chase is absolutely right on this one. We also think Tony definitely died that day, but it’s nice to think he might be alive and still finding excuses to beat up Georgie at the Bing.

Filed Under: The Sopranos

Steven Hyden is a staff writer for Grantland. His first book, Your Favorite Band is Killing Me, will be released in May.

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